Instant Pot Pav Bhaji


This popular Indian street food is so easy to make in an instant pot! And thanks to my pre-made onion masala, this one-pot dish is literally a dump and cook type of recipe!

instant pot pav bhaji myheartbeets

What is Pav Bhaji?

Pav bhaji is a popular Indian street food dish originally from Mumbai. If you’ve never heard of this dish – “pav” just means buttered bread and “bhaji” is a thick mashed vegetable curry/sauce.

Think of pav bhaji as an Indian vegetarian sloppy joe! It doesn’t actually taste anything like a Sloppy Joe, but it’s messy and fun to eat! You can put it on a bun and top it with chopped onions, cilantro, and green chilies! A perfect and fun warm veggie sandwich. Comfort food at its best!

“Best Pav Bhaji I’ve ever made and at 1/10 the effort. Thank God for your innovative recipes Ashley.”

instant pot pav bhaji myheartbeets

An Easy Pour and Cook Recipe

The great thing about this dish is that it’s SO simple to make, especially if you have my pre-made onion masala handy. You literally put ALL of the ingredients in a pot and cook. That’s it!

This recipe for pav bhaji is part of my onion masala series called: Onion Masala LOVE. My goal with this series: to show you how easy it is to prepare Indian food on a daily basis.

Click on the image below to find out how to make onion masala, how to store it, and find other recipes that call for it!

“I am a big fan of your onion masala recipe. It’s been a minute since I’ve started freezing and using it for quick dinners. But this was the first time I used it for making pav bhaji and I was done in 30 minutes!!!!! 30 minutes! I couldn’t believe it! I typically toiled away for an hour or more to get it to the way I liked it. What a huge time saver!!!”

instant pot pav bhaji myheartbeets

Let’s talk about Pav

You can use any buttered roll to go along with this bhaji. Just be sure to melt some butter in a pan and toast the bread a bit – the texture of the soft yet toasty bread with its crispy edges is such a nice contrast to the veggie curry.

Roby (my hubby) loves eating pav bhaji with sweet Hawaiian rolls (I get them for him from Trader Joes’s or Costco). I like them with either gluten-free hamburger buns (also from TJs) or with Schar gluten-free buns (I get those from Giant Eagle).

I can’t wait to hear what you think of this recipe! You’re going to love how it tastes and how easy it is to make with the onion masala!

Can I use pre-made or store-bought pav bhaji masala instead of individual spices?

Yes! If you’d like to use your own blend or store-bought pav bhaji masala then just leave out my spices and add the masala to taste!

I list individual spices for this recipe because this way I can offer you guys consistent results. Not all spice mixes are created the same and so if you use a pre-made mix, there’s a chance you may not like the outcome whereas I have tested my recipe using the exact amount of spices listed.

Totally up to you though!


(for the full recipe, see the recipe card below 😋)

Add a bunch of ingredients into the pot and pressure cook!

Veggies are done! Mash. Mash. Stir. Stir.

Serve with buttered rolls and add all the toppings!

instant pot pav bhaji myheartbeets

Instant Pot Pav Bhaji

instant pot pav bhaji myheartbeets

Instant Pot Pav Bhaji

5 from 21 reviews
Pin Recipe Print Recipe
Servings 5
Cuisine Indian


  • ½ cup water
  • 2 russet potatoes approx. 1 pound total, peeled and chopped into large pieces
  • ½ head cauliflower roughly chopped
  • ½ bell pepper chopped (I prefer to use red bell pepper for color and flavor)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 small green chili or ½ serrano pepper optional and adjust to taste
  • 1 cup frozen or thawed onion masala


Add later

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Cilantro garnish
  • Red onion garnish
  • Green chilis chopped, optional garnish


  • Serve with Pav buttered rolls


  • Add all of the ingredients except for those listed under “add later” to the pot.
  • Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook at high pressure for 6 minutes.
  • Quick release pressure.
  • Use a potato masher or a wooden spoon to mash the vegetables. You can add some water at this point if needed to adjust the bhaji to desired consistency.
  • Stir the butter and lemon juice into the pot.
  • Serve with Pav (buttered rolls) and garnish with chopped cilantro, red onion and green chilis (optional). You can also top the bhaji with extra butter!



  • This is a popular dish with kiddos – however, if you are making this for kids you will likely want to omit the green chilies AND the cayenne (unless your child is older and/or can tolerate spicy foods)
  • You can use a pre-made pav bhaji spice blend if you prefer – I just like to list spices out to ensure consistent results as spice blends can vary and can sometimes include unnecessary/odd ingredients.
  • Sometimes veggies can be different sizes and so if you feel the bhaji needs more onion masala you can always stir it in at the end if needed. Since the onion masala is already cooked, you can always add more!
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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instant pot pav bhaji myheartbeets

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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Flavia says

    5 stars
    I am a big fan of your onion masala recipe. It’s been a minute since I’ve started freezing and using it for quick dinners. But this was the first time I used it for making pav bhaji and I was done in 30 minutes!!!!! 30 minutes! I couldn’t believe it! I typically toiled away for an hour or more to get it to the way I liked it. What a huge time saver!!!

  2. Neesha Srinivasan says

    5 stars
    Best Pav Bhaji I’ve ever made and at 1/10 the effort. Thank God for your innovative recipes Ashley.

  3. brandy says

    5 stars
    This is SO authentic and delicious and such a great way for everyone to get their vegetables.

    I can’t tell you how handy this recipe has been for me. This is what I do– I have a 6qt IP and I double the recipe. There are just three of us in my family, but bear with me; when I double the recipe we keep half of it out to eat fresh, and we divide the remainder among some freezer containers and FREEZE several of those for those busy nights when we need to get something on the table that’s healthy but quick. I get brioche rolls or brioche slider buns from Aldi and I freeze those, and that way all I have to do is heat up my bhaji, and slice the bread, toast it on a cast iron griddle (my dosa pan actually), chop some coriander and red onion and BOOM, done! Everything is there in the freezer for those tight schedule days and it is DELICIOUS, homemade, full of healthy vegetables and FAST!!

  4. Preetha says

    Hey, thanks for a super easy recipe! Unfortuantely, I didn’t have a couple ingredients – amchur and black salt. I’m not sure how critical these are to the recipe but I went ahead without them. I did notice that I had to cook a bit longer than 6 minutes – maybe closer to 8. Otherwise, this is a super convenient recipe and my seven year old was able to help me, especially with the mashing! 🙂 I’ll definitely make it again.

  5. Tamara Kalhan says

    I haven’t made this yet. How could you make this without onion masala? Can you please provide a way to add fresh onions and extra tomato (if needed) in lieu of onion masala if i don’t have any on hand?

    I have made several of you other recipes and all are fantastic! Thanks!

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      You can always sauté onions and cook down tomatoes with some garlic and ginger if you don’t want to use the masala. I’d really suggest making it though – it’ll make cooking future recipes so much easier!

  6. Viren L. Gandhi says

    5 stars
    Love your Pav Bhaji recipe. It turns out best pav bhaji every tiki make. I add 1/2 medium beet. It gives a very rich red color. Your blog’s name ends with beets, you need to promote beets more..just kidding. My daughter makes Pav Bhaji a lot. Our grandsons love it. They call it Indian Sloppy Joe😍
    Thank you Ashley for helping so many people with your delicious recipes.

  7. Sima says

    5 stars
    delish! I love how everything came together in the instant pot, and loved that I could use the onion masala as a quick cheat. Thanks Ashley!

  8. Neetal says

    5 stars
    Loved the ease with which this dish can be made. Your onion-tomato Masala is a big hit in my family. I’ve tried multiple of your recipes and all have turned out great. Thank you for sharing your recipes with us.

  9. Jayesh says

    5 stars
    I see the spices are the same as Chana Masala spices, although the ratio might be different. I don’t have amchur but I have all the other spices. Can I just use Chana Masala? Looking at the spices that you have it seems like 3 tbsp of Chana Masala will do it. What do you think?

  10. Andie says

    5 stars
    This was so delicious and will be on regular rotation. One of my husband’s new favorites! Again, you’re frozen onion masala makes cooking amazing dinner a snap! Thank you!!!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Andie, I’m so happy to hear that you and your husband liked the pav bhaji so much! Thank you for letting me know how this turned out for you 🙂 I can’t wait to hear what you think of other onion masala recipes!

  11. Monika says

    5 stars
    This is a hit everytime I make it! My kids and husband LOVE this recipe and it’s all gone in the same day. Tastes authentic and i love the option to customize the spice level and play with the veggies.

  12. Neil says

    Hi Ashley. this is probably a crazy question, but have you heard of pav bhaji being made with sweet potatoes?

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Neil! Not crazy at all! I haven’t tried using sweet potatoes in this recipe but I’d bet it’d turn out really well. I love sweet potatoes – I may have to try soon, now you have me curious 🙂

  13. RT says

    I was a bit reluctant to make onion masala but ended up making it as my tomatoes were getting spoilt.. Mainky because I wanted fresh food and didn’t wanted to take out from freezer blah blah blah …. but the Pav bhaaji recipe totally changed my mindset. Was able to prepare the dinner in matter of 10 minutes. Will Be making more of onion masalas 😀Thank you Ashley.

  14. Dawn says

    Hi! I’m making this for a dinner party tonight and wondering if I could use frozen riced cauliflower in place of fresh? My grocery store was sold out of cauliflower, ugh. Thanks!

  15. Juhi says

    5 stars
    Thanks for the great recipe Ashley!! Thanks to using the individual spices I can adjust it for my 4 year old. I made it today and she just loved it. With the store bought masala it would always turn out too spicy for her. I find your recipe the perfect one where I can adjust the heat without losing on flavors. Thanks!! This goes in my favorites 🙂

  16. Virginia says

    I have made many of your recipes and enjoyed them all! I have a question about doubling. I have a large family and often like to double the recipes. Do you recommend doubling the spices in this case, or not? Usually I do about 1.5 times the spices for double recipes. Just wondering if you have any tips for those of us who need to double the recipes, especially when it comes to spices. Thank you so much!

  17. Swati says

    I realized, you are not using any tomatoes in your recipe. While eating outside in Mumbai, the street vendors would always put tomatoes…just curious to know.

  18. Anushree says

    I made this recipe today with readymade pav bhaji spice mix. The onion masala is a lifesaver! I got done with everything in less than half hour. So uncomplicated and yet so delicious! Thank You Ashley!

  19. Sarika says

    I haven’t made any recipes yet but I am looking forward to it! You have so many dishes I grew up eating and have been yearning for. Thanks!

  20. Deepti says

    Thanks for the great recipe, Ashley! Made it last night and it was so easy and delicious, just like all of your recipes! Just one quick question: if I want to replace the spice blend with pre-made pav bhaji masala, how much of the pre-made masala should I use?

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